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Shamrock FC: 300 - Preview

By Brett Auten | Knuckle Junkies

It will be a momentous evening for Shamrock Fighting Championships.

On December 1st the St. Louis combat sports promotion will put on its 300th event with a pro/am card featuring some of the regions top talent. River City Casino will once again be host to a 6-fight professional main card.

Headlining the evening will be Garrett Gross versus Garrett Mueller in a lightweight contest.

Gross, who is always chasing the finish, will be looking for his third win of 2017. Gross (10-6) has won six of his last eight with his only loses coming to Chris Heatherly and Rashard Lovelace. Gross looked particularly deadly in his previous fight with Frank Sloan where he unleashed a blitzkrieg of punches on a downed Sloan, scoring a TKO against someone who's known for his toughness.

Mueller has see-sawed his way to a 4-3 record, has a solid submission game, and is tough to put away as four of his seven pro fights have gone to decision. In a battle with Steve Nguyen in Kansas City earlier in the year, Nguyen hit Mueller with the kitchen sink, and Mueller never stopped pressing forward. Gross can be a bit of a slow starter, and Mueller best chance is to try and catch him early before Gross starts to heat up.

In the co-main event, two competitors looking to right the ship will square off when Adam Cella faces Jesse Beck.

Cella - a 2013 member of The Ultimate Fighter - has lost six straight and has dropped seven of his last eight. Cella (6-8) has been an SFC staple, fighting for the promotion seven times and has been a part of some of the most prominent moments in Shamrock FC's catalog of fights including the epic battle with Lucas Gwaltney, and the highlight reel KO of Justin Demoney. The 33-year old Beck has lost three-straight and four of his last five. This bout will take place at light heavyweight, making it the third different weight class for Cella who started his career at welterweight before dabbling briefly at middleweight.

Fireworks aplenty should occur when Luke Nelson takes on Rashard Lovelace in the lightweight division. Both are known for their dynamic stand-up. Lovelace was the 2016 STL MMA Regional Fighter of the Year, winning his first four fights, all via TKO in the first or second round. Nelson is a former sparring partner of UFC Champ Tyron Woodley and is one of the Muay Thai coaches at Watson Martial Arts. After taking nearly a year off, Lovelace (4-1) suffered his first pro loss earlier this year when Sean Woodson bettered him in June via unanimous decision. Nelson (2-2) has fought just one time since 2014, a decision loss to Enrique Gonzalez in September 2016 at RFA 44 here in St. Louis.

Yohance Flager has been doing more coaching than fighting lately, but the STL MMA vet is knocking the dust off of his short-lived retirement to face Scott Ettling at featherweight. Flager (9-7) last competed in January 2016 when he earned a unanimous decision win over the tough Fazlo Mulabitinovic. The 42-year-old Flager, who began his amateur career in 2008, has won three of his last four fights. Ettling (4-2) is coming off a close, split-decision loss to Erion Zekthi. Ettling has a wicked guillotine, and his primary weapon is his smothering submission game, but he'll need to reach deep into his bag of tricks to find something Flager hasn't seen before.

Bantamweight Erion Zekthi (2-1) will be looking for his third pro win against Jordan Collins (1-0). Zekthi's MMA wrestling is top notch, and while Collins has just one pro bout, he had racked up nearly 30 ammy fights before making the jump. The two fought as amateurs in the spring of 2014 with Zekthi getting a submission late in the third round. Zekthi has built up quite a reputation for his pre-fight interviews, and one thing to note is that Zekthi parted ways with the Wolves Den in Wentzville - home to all of his previous pro fights - before taking this fight.

A dark horse pick for fight of the night would be Joe Mueller is making his MMA debut, against 14-fight vet Matt Murphy. Mueller is not your ordinary newb. He is one of the more decorated kickboxers and Muay Thai practitioners to come through the St. Louis region, winning multiple world titles in 2012 and 2013 among his many accolades. Murphy (6-8) has built his reputation on taking fights here, there and everywhere and has dynamite in his hands. One knock on Murphy is his ground defense as six of his eight losses have come by submission. Mueller started preparing for his MMA debut early this summer focusing primarily on jiu-jitsu at Arnold BJJ. Mueller has since competed in multiple local jiu-jitsu tournaments with some degree of success including recently winning in the blue belt division of a tournament. The x-factor in this is Mueller's competitiveness. If the fight remains on the feet, you have to like Mueller's chances, but how well will he do if Murphy puts him on his back is the big question in this fight.

Possibly the best fight of the night could occur on the amateur side as up-and-coming lightweights Colin Parr and Miguel Lisboa headline the undercard. Parr has won five of his last six. Lisboa started his career off on a tear but has dropped his previous two, including the 2016 STL MMA Amateur Fight of the Year, to Nathan Stearns. Lisboa's has a strong pedigree in jiu-jitsu having trained at Pedigo Submission Fighting for many years before moving to St. Louis and setting up shop at St. Charles MMA. Lisboa, now a blue belt, won at least one IBJJF World Championship in the gi while a white belt.

Full card: (Subject to change)

Garrett Gross vs. Garrett Mueller
Adam Cella vs. Jesse Beck
Luke Nelson vs. Rashard Lovelace
Scott Ettling vs. Yohance Flager
Erion Zekthi vs. Jordan Collins
Joe Mueller vs. Matt Murphy

Colin Parr vs. Miguel Lisboa
Jeff Glover vs. Chuckie Brooks
Tyler Albert vs. Mark Chappal
Edrick Dillard vs. Ace Anderson
Jason Gavril vs. Kirk Vessel
Justin Angel vs. Sebastian Grant
Mark Kirkland vs. Derek Chrestman
Vince Hutchens vs. Tim Jackson
Shaun Briggs vs. Derrick Davis
Elijah Brockman vs. Dylan Hatley

Shamrock FC 300
Friday, December 1st
River City Casino, St. Louis, MO